Congratulations to all of the Cal-Hi Sports State Coaches of the year for girls basketball. These are the ones for each CIF division and it’s a group that includes a coach who’s won back-to-back CIF state titles plus a coach who earned her 100th career win in a CIF state final.
For more on this year’s overall State Coach of the Year announcement, CLICK HERE.
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Note: Open Division and Division I coaches are considered for the same category. For the other divisions, they are based on CIF state playoff divisions and not section playoffs. We know that competitive equity placements have altered the overall strength of teams in the lower divisions, but we have years and years of choosing coaches from D1 through D5 and it’s just a lot easier to simply continue in the same format.
(Associate editor Harold Abend contributed to this post)
OPEN DIVISION/DIVISION I
McKinsey Hadley (Serra, Gardena)
As the overall State Coach of the Year, Hadley also falls into the top spot for this category. This would be his second divisional state coaching honor. His previous one was for D4 in 2013. It’s not unusual for a coach to win a divisional statewide honor and then become State Coach of the Year later. After that, though, that’s just about it as far as coaching honors from us are concerned.
Senior guard Cheyenne Givens, who had 20 points in the D1 state final and senior guard DeLauna Thomas, who averaged more than 10 ppg, will be the major graduation losses from this year’s team. Hadley will still have a solid group coming back, however, led by leading scorer Alexis Tucker.
Last 10 honorees: 2017 Craig Campbell (Fresno Clovis West); 2016 Torino Johnson (Palisades, Pacific Palisades); 2015 Kelli DiMuro (West Hills Chaminade); 2014 Craig Campbell (Fresno Clovis West); 2013 Anders Anderson (Etiwanda); 2012 Cheryl Draper (Berkeley); 2011 Gail Hale (Moreno Valley Canyon Springs); 2010 Marty Verdugo (Santa Monica); 2009 Ron Hirschman (Danville Monte Vista); 2008 Lorene Morgan (Long Beach Millikan).
Roger DiCarlo (San Marcos)
One of those seriously considered for the overall State Coach of the Year honor was Marcelo Enriquez of D2 state champion Redondo Union (Redondo Beach). He’s already been the D2 State Coach of the Year (2000), however, so for this category we needed to look deeper. The coach we’re putting into the book is DiCarlo, who led San Marcos to the D2 state semifinals and to a No. 4 final overall ranking for San Diego County.
This is only the third time that the D2 State Coach of Year selection in girls hoops has gone to someone from the CIF San Diego Section. The other two are Robby Sandoval of Mt. Miguel (Spring Valley) for 2005 and Brad Merrill from San Pasqual of Escondido (1988).
DiCarlo began his coaching career at Hoover of San Diego and won two league titles there before moving to San Marcos for an earlier seven-year stint at the school. He then left to coach as an assistant at San Diego State and as a head coach at Allen Community College. DiCarlo returned to San Marcos for the 2012-13 season and he’s been there ever since. His program hasn’t been able to overcome city rival Mission Hills (which is Division I), but went on a memorable run in the CIF SoCal playoffs this season.
Last 10 honorees: 2017 Allison Johnson (Fairfield Vanden); 2016 Mark Lehman (San Bernardino Cajon); 2015 Miguel Granillo (Tracy Kimball); 2014 Kelli DiMuro (Chaminade, West Hills); 2013 Michelle Massari (Sacramento); 2012 Leonard DeCoud (Riverside J.W. North); 2011 Wade Nakamura (San Jose Presentation); 2010 Tom Parrish (Hanford); 2009 Steve White (El Dorado Hills Oak Ridge); 2008 Victor Pitton (Sacramento St. Francis).
John Langston (West Campus, Sacramento)
In the last two seasons, there’s only been one school from the Sacramento area to win a CIF state title at the Golden 1 Center and both of those seasons it was Langston and his girls from West Campus that got the job done. One year after the Warriors topped Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga in the D4 state final, they returned in 2018 and rolled past Sunny Hills of Fullerton in D3.
Langston was the Sacramento Bee All-Metro Coach of the Year for 2017 and has continued to build a successful program at West Campus. He previously was the head coach at Sacramento High where he was known for teams that were led by former All-American Vickie Baugh. Langston has been at West Campus for nine years. The first of 29 wins by this year’s team also was the 200th for Langston’s career.
On the bigger picture not just CIF divisions, Langston has had one of the top five teams in the entire Sac-Joaquin Section. He’s known for putting his girls through six weeks of physical training in the summer with no basketballs to be found anywhere near them. It’ll be interesting to see how West Campus fares next season when some of this year’s seniors, especially Kiara Jefferson (UCLA) and Nia Johnson (Cal State Bakersfield), have graduated.
Last 10 honorees: 2017 Rich Yoon (Rosary Academy, Fullerton); 2016 Kelly Sopak (Orinda Miramonte); 2015 LyRyan Russell (S.F. Sacred Heart Cathedral); 2014 Andrew Butcher (Santa Barbara); 2013 Malik McCord (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2012 Malik McCord (Oakland Bishop O’Dowd); 2011 Tom Howard (Orange Lutheran); 2010 Tony Scott (Inglewood); 2009 Mark Gradoville (Fresno Roosevelt); 2008 Michael Anderson (Anaheim Magnolia).
Amy Bush (Sierra Pacific, Hanford)
After Hanford High won the 2001 CIF Division 2 state title, head coach Dwayne Tubbs was selected as the 2001 State Coach of the Year. Bush isn’t getting State Coach of the Year, but after her team won the D5 state title over Lowell of San Francisco and her team ended 32-5, she’s an easy choice for D5.
Bush revealed just after the press conference following the game that the victory over Lowell also was the 100th of her coaching career. This includes an 84-16 record over the last three seasons at Sierra Pacific, where she’s been coaching her daughter, Kalea, one of the team’s best players.
Bush, who is the first from the CIF Central Section to ever gain the State D5 Coach of the Year honor, recently told the Hanford Sentinel that she will continue to coach at Sierra Pacific despite her daughter’s graduation. “I love the school,” she told the newspaper. “I don’t plan on going anywhere.”
Last 10 honorees: 2017 Richard Masson (San Pedro Rolling Hills Prep); 2016 Jon Sampang (Sun Valley Village Christian); 2015 Donovan Blythe (East Palo Alto Eastside Prep); 2014 Doc Scheppler (Los Altos Hills Pinewood); 2013 Alicia Komaki (Chatsworth Sierra Canyon); 2012 Que Ngo (Stockton Brookside Christian); 2011 Julianne Berry (Alameda St. Joseph Notre Dame); 2010 Doc Scheppler (Los Altos Hills Pinewood); 2009 Mike Rubie (Sacramento Bradshaw Christian); 2008 Mike Talps (Oakland Head-Royce).
Buck Matthews (Woodside Priory, Portola Valley)
Similar to D2, the head coach of D4 state champion Rolling Hills Prep, Richard Masson, was just selected as a state coach of the year for D5 last year. Therefore, the honoree for D4 this year is from the runner-up team.
It’s not like Rolling Hills Prep rolled over Matthews’ team from Priory, either. It was a 57-53 score and it was nip-and-tuck throughout the fourth quarter. And while the Panthers were only 17-15, they did win a NorCal title and that came one year after they won the school’s first CIF Central Coast Section crown (D5).
Before Matthews began coaching at Priory, the school was only fielding a JV team. With him, since 2014, the school has been mostly competitive in a West Bay-Foothill League that has perhaps more state coaches of the year than any league in California (no matter the sizes of the schools). That league includes Pinewood of Los Altos Hills (Doc Scheppler), Eastside College Prep (Donovan Blythe), Menlo School of Atherton (John Paye) and Sacred Heart Prep of Atherton (Mike Ciardella), who have all been state coaches of the year by division or overall. Ciardella is the only one of those three not still currently coaching in the league.
Last 10 honorees: 2017 Dawnesha Buckner (Los Osos, Rancho Cucamonga); 2016 Stephen Pezzola (Richmond Salesian); 2015 David Esparza (Anaheim Fairmont Prep); 2014 Jim Hart (Scotts Valley); 2013 McKinsey Hadley (Gardena Serra); 2012 Terri Bamford (La Jolla Country Day); 2011 Steve Smith (Los Angeles Windward); 2010 Melissa Hearlihy (North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake); 2009 David Monroe (Chula Vista Mater Dei); 2008 Dr. Rodney Faucett (Vallejo St. Patrick-St. Vincent).